It’s commonly known that Star Wars: A New Hope was the first movie to successfully market and sell toys associated with a film. In fact, creator George Lucas used the proceeds from the sale of merchandise related to the first Star Wars movie in 1977 to independently finance the sequels – 1980s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983s Return of the Jedi. Today, few toy lines are as hotly collected or worth more money than some of the original Star Wars items from the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many of the action figures, plastic toys and Lego sets tied into the original trilogy are today worth thousands. And there are several rare and unusual Star Wars items that are of particular value. People reading this will likely be surprised at the current value of many Star Wars toys, and cringe when they recall the toys they had as a kid but threw away. Here are 10 of the rarest and most valuable Star Wars toys. (Prices are based on what items have sold for on eBay and at auctions).
10. Wampa Action Figure – $250
Wampa is the official name of the Abominable Snowman creature that attacks Luke Skywalker at the start of The Empire Strikes Back. And, believe it or not, only one action figure of this iconic creature was ever produced (there have been more since). In 1997, department store chain Target released a 12-inch action figures to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope. They decided the Wampa deserved a toy too. And because the 12-inch Wampa action figure was the only one of its kind, it is worth a premium to many Star Wars fans and toy collectors. While initially selling for $9.99, the Wampa action figure today sells for $250 in mint condition. Not a bad mark-up for a semi-rare toy.
9. “Vulgar” C-3P0 trading card – $300
Mistakes make for valuable collectibles. Any time a toy or other collectible contains an error, it ends up making that item rare and unique. That can mean big bucks over time, as die hard collectors often prefer rare and unusual versions of toys. Same goes for trading cards. And in the Star Wars universe, the rarest trading card is what’s known as the “vulgar C-3P0 card.” In 1977, at the height of the Star Wars: A New Hope craze, trading card company Topps produced a line of cards featuring the movie’s various characters. However, a misprint of a C-3P0 trading card gave the snooty droid an unusual appendage. Shocked buyers complained and the misprint was quickly corrected. Today, the card in questions is considered extremely rare, which is why it sells for $300 when a pack of the cards back in 1977 cost only a quarter to buy. Fewer than 50 of the vulgar C-3P0 cards are believed to exist today.
8. Blue Snaggletooth – $700
Speaking of mistakes, the Blue Snaggletooth action figure is another misfire that has helped to raise the value of an otherwise typical Star Wars toy. You will recall Snaggletooth from the cantina scene in Star Wars: A New Hope. There are many normal Snaggletooth action figures available, that sell for about $40 each. However, Kenner, the company that produced the original line of Star Wars action figures, initially made a mistake when producing the Snaggletooth toy. The photo they received from Lucasfilm of the character was in black and white, so they guessed at the color of the character’s jumpsuit, producing it in blue instead of red. They also made Snaggletooth regular size, when he should have been shorter. Executives at Lucasfilm were peeved and the mistake was swiftly corrected. But if you can get your hands on one of the mistakenly made Snaggletooths wearing a blue jumpsuit, it is today worth $700. Who says nothing good comes from a mistake?
7. Han Solo with Blaster and Little Head – $1,000
The first Han Solo action figure made by Kenner came with the smuggler’s trademark blaster, and is highly coveted by Star Wars collectors today. The head on the figurine is also notoriously small – definitely smaller than the heads on many other Kenner action figures produced to coincide with 1977s Star Wars: A New Hope. That means that if you have the Han Solo figure in its original packaging with the blaster, and little head, it is today worth roughly $1,000. To give you an idea of how important small items and packaging can be, the Han Solo action figure without the blaster and not in the packaging is worth about $20. That’s a considerable drop-off in price, to say the least. Remember, in the world of collectibles, accessories and details matter. After all, who is Han Solo without his trusted blaster? Oh, and why the little head? Kenner never said, though some people speculate it was a mistake made when trying to get the figure’s hair right.
6. Limited Edition Boba Fett Action Figure – $2,000
You couldn’t buy the original Boba Fett action figure made by Kenner. You had to save up proof of purchase cutouts from other action figures you had bought and mail away for Boba Fett. That made the original Boba Fett figure the most desired among kids in the late 1970s. And the value of the intergalactic bounty hunter has only grown over time. Today, the original Kenner Boba Fett toy sell online for $2,000, or more – making it an extremely hot collectible. Ironically, Boba Fett became one of the most popular villains of the first Star Wars trilogy even though he had an extremely small part in the movies and barely said anything. With an expanded role in the prequel films made in the 1990s, Boba Fett’s popularity has only grown and today he is as sought after, as a toy, as he ever was in the past.
5. R2D2 Lunch Box – $3,000
There were a ton of Star Wars lunch boxes produced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Can you think of a kid in your class who didn’t have one? But among the crush of lunch boxes and thermoses, one stands out as more valuable than others – the R2D2 lunch box made by manufacturer King Seely in 1977. Why is it worth $3,000 today? Because it was actually a prototype and only 12 were ever sold. Also, this particular lunch box is unique in that it is in the shape of R2D2. It’s not a typical lunch box that merely sports pictures of R2D2 on it. It kind of looks like a thermos in the shape of everyone’s favorite droid. Why the prototype never went into full production isn’t known. But King Seely likely would have had a hit if it had gone into full production. Instead we’re left with a rare item than today is worth thousands of bucks.
4. Han Solo In Carbonite, Scale Model – $7,000
Not too many people had this item. But there is a seven and a half foot tall scale model of Han Solo frozen in carbonite that looks exactly like what was seen in The Empire Strikes Back. It’s worth $7,000 today. Many collectors consider this item to be among the coolest, if not the absolute best, Star Wars collectible available. It’s not autographed by Harrison Ford or anyone else, but this unique, one-of-a-kind collectible is truly impressive. Picture it in your rec room or man cave. Who among your friends and family wouldn’t be impressed? Made by a sculpture in California, this life sized item has made appearances at conventions and toy exhibitions throughout North America, but is available to buy from time-to-time. Keep an eye out at auctions houses!
3. Star Wars Comic #1 – $13,500
The Star Wars comic book issued by Marvel Comics in 1977 is today worth a pretty penny – $13,500 to be exact. But the reason why the comic book is valuable may surprise you. It’s not because of the artists, writers, or storyline. Nor is it because it’s the first issue, or that it is a particularly rare edition. The reason why the comic book is worth a lot is because of the price listed on the cover – 35 cents. In 1977, Marvel was testing out a price increase in their comic books, eager to raise the price per issue from 25 cents, which it had been stuck at for years. Marvel used Star Wars issue #1 as a guinea pig of sorts. The comic book publisher raised the price in four select markets in the U.S. in an effort to test out sales of the product with a raised price. In most markets, the price remained at 25 cents. But in those four select markets, the price is listed on the cover as 35 cents, setting the comic apart and making it rare. Today, this version of Star Wars comic #1 is known as the “35 Cent variant title,” and it is believed that only an estimated 1,500 copies still exist.
2. Lego Millennium Falcon – $16,000
Why is the Lego Millennium Falcon worth a whopping $16,000 – especially when it was only issued a few years ago? Well, with a retail price of $500, the Millennium Falcon was the most expensive Star Wars LEGO set ever sold (it contained over 5000 individual LEGO pieces!). It is also one of the largest LEGO sets of all time. Owing to the original price, this was a very sought after and hard to acquire toy. Many parents balked at the sticker price and refused to buy it for their kids. Subsequently discontinued by LEGO, the Millennium Falcon has become even more difficult to find, which helps to explain why one in mint condition still in the box sold on eBay last year for $16,000. Bet those stingy parents wish they’d shelled out $500 for this Lego set when they had the chance.
1. Vinyl Cape Jawa – $18,000
By now, you should know that the original Kenner Star Wars action figures are worth a lot of money these days. And some are worth more than others. The most valuable of all the Kenner action figures is what’s known as the “Vinyl Cape Jawa,” which has sold for $18,000 in mint condition in the box. What makes this action figure special? The Jawa figurine was part of the first ever action figures released for the Star Wars franchise, as part of the company’s 12-pack collection. However, the Jawa toy was initially released with a vinyl cape. Kenner changed the Jawa’s cape from vinyl to cloth because of the small size of the figure (Jawas, after all, are pretty small). Apparently, Kenner wanted fans to feel like they were not being cheated for paying the same price for a product that is only half the size as the other action figures. Since the cape was changed so early in the release, only a few have surfaced with the original vinyl cape. To be exact, only six Jawa figures with the vinyl cape have been discovered and sold, making them extremely rare, hard to get, and super expensive.